19th August 2016
8:35am – 11:55am 14km
The mosquitos, though present, were not too plentiful this morning. Nonetheless I was eager to get to Abisko so ate breakfast whilst I packed.
Once on the trail the kilometres sped by. The trail was as easy they come.
After just over an hour I passed a Dutch couple with their daughter whom I had chatted with the previous night. Exchanging a few pleasantries I realised that I had been in my own little world, drifting along, hardly noticing the beauty around me. The soaring mountains. The roaring river. I realised that although this was not as spectacular as some of the sights I had otherwise seen, but it was still a privilege to be here. I began to notice a change in the verdant greenery of the forest. Some of the trees were starting to lose some of their colour and tinges of golden orange were appearing. In only a week or two this place would be entering its autumnal stage. Another good reason to return one day – as if a reason were needed!!
The end of the trail appeared more quickly than I had imagined. Over the last couple of weeks I had honed my skills at estimating my progress and predicting when I would arrive at a destination. The terrain, my pace and how hard I was walking would give me a good sense of whether I was covering three or maybe four kilometres per hour. On this smooth heavy-trodden mud surface with a slight downhill gradient and plentiful board-walk, even my steady rhythmic plod meant that I had averaged nearly five kilometres per hour.
It felt great to be at the location where I would tomorrow be whisked off, back to my family. I knew that I would remember this place fondly in weeks and years to come.
Setting up my tent once more for the last time on this trip was, um, ‘less than wonderful’. I’m being diplomatic of course! The pitch was stoney and my tough titanium tent pegs broke up the ground. After the privacy of camping on a mountain side, this felt like a tent metropolis. Still, it’s a bed for the night.
Having learnt about the Swedish menu system I eschewed the showers in favour of some roll-on deodorant and headed straight for the restaurant. As before there were a few options for the evening meal but there was also an afternoon buffet. For a very affordable 110 SEK (£10) I loaded a plate with a delicious fish casserole, new potatoes and salad. Not wanting to be rude I enquired whether a second helping was ‘the done thing’. I was reassured that, yes, that’s the idea of the buffet. Great! Up I went for a second helping! With hot drinks being part of the deal I washed it all down with three mugs of coffee. Delicious!
The afternoon soon drifted by with the necessities of organising my tent, having a sauna and shower, and checking clothes which were drying in the “Torkrum”. After the outstanding lunch I did not feel too hungry so nibbled some Krosnobrod and cheese for tea. I’ve not felt any particular cravings over the last two weeks but suddenly had an overwhelming desire for fruit so grabbed a banana and a berry smoothie.
Tomorrow the plan is relaxed. Pack up. Wander in to Abisko town for a few essentials. Another buffet lunch to fill up for the journey home and then catch the night train.
Collapsing into a Fjallstation armchair I delved into my book and sipped my way through a splendid Sigtuna organic beer. At £7 a bottle it’ll just be the one tonight! Outside the rain clouds are gathering. Dark, menacing and a little apocalyptic. The wind herds the rain around the other side of the lake and off into the distance. The open fire crackles in the corner. What a great way to finish my last night on the trail!